Company and Hope

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33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” – 1 Corinthians 15:33 (CSB)

 

Lately I’ve been taking Uber to get to CrossFit once a week, and it’s been really fun, I’ve had the opportunity of chatting with some awesome people along the way. Normally before each ride, I say a little prayer, for safety and that God might allow me to have the words to inspire hope in some way and even talk about my faith and love for Jesus. As cliche as it sounds, I mean that in the least cliche way possible.

Yesterday though, when my first ride came and got me I didn’t pray. I got in the car, locked in my seat belt and quickly noticed the cigarettes and lighter near me. As soon as we pulled out of the drive way, this man, (whom we will call- Sam) starts talking to me about how it’s been a long day of driving, and that it would be an even longer night of baking. As that is his second job when he is not driving people around.

I asked him “do you ever have a day off?” He chuckled a bit and said “No, I can’t really have a day off, I work hard to support my daughter… But, my daughter ran away from home again, she’s been gone almost 2 weeks. She took off with some really horrible people. She was doing so well.” At this point, all I could do was say that I was sorry for his pain and listen to what he had to say.

I’m angry he said “And I can feel the depression coming back…. She was doing so well, but she ran off again with those idiots man! What don’t they understand about not coming on my damn property?”

 

I know sir, I said,  “she hangs out with bad company and it corrupts her” it was at this point that I remembered the verse above and wondered if Sam knew he was paraphrasing the bible. Before we reached my stop, I said “sir, if I have learned anything in my short life and all my training in psychology, it’s that there is always hope. Even in the darkest of times.”

Sam looked at me and said “Did they teach you that in school?”

“No” I said in response, “that’s what I believe about life.” He looked at me and said “well, sometimes people need to know what it’s like to be down, down, down and have no hope first.”  I thought to myself “but I have.”  I  want you to take away a few things from this:

  1. It matters who we let into our lives, regardless of age. The more we are around a person or a group of people. The more they influence us, for better or for worse. That being said, be selective of who you let in (and out) of your life, know what your boundaries are and if people don’t respect them. Get rid of them. Lastly, listen to the wisdom of those you trust. If someone close to you says that they are not sure about someone or group of people, listen to that. It’ll save you from a lot of heart ache.

Remember that how dark things get in life, it can always get better.

-Brandon

 

 

 

Company and Hope

Thoughts on Sports Anxiety

A few years ago I started competing in Brazilian Jiujitsu, even in spite of the challenges with having cerebral palsy. All of my competition has been abled-bodied, okay, not all I have competed against other adaptive grapplers. And I’m not sure which one fits me better.

Regardless,   the point of this entry, is to explain a revelation that has dawned on me. I have competition anxiety. Many, many athletes struggle in this way regardless of what sport they play. They might do well in practice, but they choke under the pressure of competition, they freeze and forget the training that has led to this moment.

Yep, that’s me.

I want to go out on the mats and win, I don’t know anyone that enjoys losing. But the reality is that I have far more losses than I do victories. And that often weighs me down, because when I see so many team mates winning and bringing home medals and then there’s me, the guy that keeps on loosing. Who’s to blame for that? Nobody else but me.

Though I do know another adaptive grappler that has lost  damn near ninety times, and only won one match. That we cripple most (yes, I used the C word) but for this guy, he just kept going out there and competing, loss after loss. Until finally, he scored a W for the win column. This has been my deepest motivation, this is allowing me to have further courage to face my fears.

Fear of defeat yet again, fear of not making my instructors and team mates down… Fear… Fear… Fear. But like I said, that’s why I keep facing this thing. That’s why I let my chest tighten and heart thumb like a dub step song. I know my mind won’t stop racing anytime soon, so why stop competing? God only knows what could happen any given moment. It’s my way of telling the fear and anxiety to @@@@ off, it doesn’t own my life.

Most people wouldn’t have the courage to go out there and loose over and over. I do, for the simple reason that my losses have taught me far more. Don’t get me wrong though, that taste of victory is so amazingly sweet.  But soon, everyone is brought back to the reality of being humbled to their knees. And for me, many lessons have come from there and I’m okay.

Embrace the paralyzing anxiety. Embrace the fear and looping thoughts in your head, they’ll always be there (though probably not as bad) compete anyway, fight anyway. You’ll be better because of it.

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Thoughts on Sports Anxiety

Remember Hope is Greater Than Evil

Over the past month, maybe more, I’ve been working a night job at a non profit called Project Harmony. This particular non profit deals with helping guide children who have been abused (either by violence or sexual abuse). Project Harmony also aids in helping parents heal through the process as well. It’s a great place to work, our building has everything under one roof: Police, nurses, a nice unit to stay in should a child or family need a place to stay temporarily

To get the job I worked with another non profit called Vocational Rehab, they helped prepare for the job interview process and so on. It’s honestly amazing how God works for our good. Project Harmony is right across the street from Vocational Rehab. On a morning that I was scheduled for an appointment there, my Dad and I had gotten lost. As a result we pulled into the parking lot of Project Harmony and without thinking I said to my Dad “wouldn’t it be cool if I got a job here?”

Well, looked what happened? A few weeks later, after a few weeks later and a background check (and a job interview-can’t forget that!) I got the job! My job mainly consists of working after hours, buzzing in clients, making sure kids have snacks, water and are enjoying themselves before they go and meet with either the police or therapist. Simple right? It may look simple, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t leave work with a deep anger at the evil and injustice that these kids have had to endure. Emails that come in on different people just turn my stomach inside out.

And I honestly don’t see the full brunt of what the therapists and police have to deal with on a daily basis. To which I have a profound respect for every individual that has to see the much darker side of our work. Alas, in the midsts of see such darkness on the days that I do work. I LOVE my job. My prayer is that God works through me in the small things, brightening the child’s day, smiling at a parent and offering a small bit of encouragement where I can.  Trying to help the police and therapists where I can.

There has only been a struggle inside me, as it relates to the evil that is seen in any capacity where I work. And rightly so, if I wasn’t angry at this evil I would naturally wonder if there was something wrong or off in my soul. At least I hope. As I spend personal time in quiet reflection, I yet again come to the understand that hope and love are bigger than evil. And while evil to an extent calls for a bit of holy anger, it is vastly more important to remember hope.

Remember hope, dwell in hope, live in hope and be hope. Do not become blind or naive to the forces of evil in this world, for doing so creates a unhealthy delusion of granger. But as we have learned in mindfulness therapy, let us learn to be present to the hope that we have and give it as a candle gives light to a dark room.

-Brandon

 

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Remember Hope is Greater Than Evil

The Love of Christ-For you

Jesus. Loves. you. I know that some might dread or roll their eyes regarding the amount of Jesus posts today. Some might even have a good laugh, but I genuinely mean what I’m saying (or rather typing), I know some people might point and say that myself and other Christians in the world or delusional for believing as we do. But the love of Jesus Christ has truly changed me inside and out, it was the love that I have always wanted and needed. The love that I have found in Christ, has moved me away from the yoke of perfection and to embrace the mad love and acceptance that he has poured out upon me. In my estimation, there are not enough words to describe how my life continues to change because of the love of Christ. Your life can change too, as though you were a new creation.

The Love of Christ-For you

The One Thing Needed

Yesterday we took a look at the issue of worry and how we need to fully rely on God (F.R.O.G.) and not on our own strength. As I sought the high king for guidance and wisdom the passage for today, the passage in Luke 10:38-42 came to life in my heart and mind.

 

Here’s why, as people, especially in our American culture, we are under the assumption that if we are constantly running around like a chicken with its head cut off that we’re being productive and doing something with our lives, which may very well be the case sometimes. As Christians, life can often get in the way more than we would like to admit.

 

In Luke 10, Martha invites Jesus into her home, and is focused on being a good hostess. One can almost feel and sense the stress, worry and anxiety that is pulsating inside of her, like someone trying to serve everyone and make everyone comfortable at a party. Her sister Mary, though she could be helping Martha, decides to sit at the feet of Jesus.

 

I can almost see Martha throwing down her kitchen towel in frustration, saying, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?” We’ve all felt this way, at least at some point in time. However, I would bet that most of us have never gotten the rebuttal that Jesus gives Martha.

 

Jesus calls Martha’s name twice. Now, in the Hebrew tradition, when a writer says something more than once, he is trying to get something of great importance across to the audience. In our culture, if a parent said our name more than once, it could very well mean that were in trouble. But you can almost see that while Jesus is stern with Martha, he is speaking with love.

 

We so often get so wrapped up in our daily cares of life that we forget that the most important daily routine is to sit at the feet of Christ. May we remember to be like Mary and choose the better things.

 

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The One Thing Needed

60 days.

In an act of self-disclosure.

I want to say that I’ve been porn free for 60 days! That is the longest I have ever been without this horrible drug. And you know what? I feel amazing, the urge to use this drug is less and less every day. Is the temptation still there? Sure, but God is faithful, and  His strength is my strength.

I actually desire real relationships, real conversation, and interaction. My prior blog on being mentally tough remains true. For I am a warrior and no enemy will easily overcome me.

My weapon of choice is 1st Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)

I can and will make it to 90 days, which is the standard time for the brain to fully re-wire. If you are struggling with any sort of addiction. You too can be free but know this: 1) you need Gods help, you need community, you need transparency and you need to be willing to give it time. But you can be free!

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60 days.